xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Batavick: Objective truth is dead thanks to a gullible audience taken in by liars with a profit motive | COMMENTARY

Crude, spray-painted graffiti on a building wall along Md. 140 instructs us that “COVID is a virus of the mind,” to “defy ‘unjust orders,’” and “turn off the media.” “Stop Hogan” is scrawled above “sic semper tyrannis” or thus always to tyrants. (Unrelated aside: Local graffiti literacy is improving. Remember the “no illeagles here” scribble of a few years ago?)

Last week and out of the blue a store clerk remarked how foolish mask-wearing was and how we were being forced to kowtow to “the man” (whoever he is). I was taken aback and told her I’ve personally known people hospitalized with COVID. Her response was “whatever.”

Advertisement

Where do beliefs like these come from? Who posted a R.I.P. on the grave of objective truth?

FACT: The pandemic has killed nearly three million worldwide. FACT: Almost 20% of these deaths were U.S. citizens. FACT: U.S. COVID-19 deaths are 50% higher than every other western country, according to Our World in Data. To put this into perspective, if we had the same death rate as Canada, nearly 225,000 of us would still be alive.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Why is this and why are there so many among us who still scoff at the efficacy of masks, or think the pandemic has been one big hoax, or believe vaccines are delivery vehicles for microchips to enable world domination by Bill Gates. The latter would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high.

You don’t have to be a gumshoe to deduce the source of much of this ignorance. The internet stands guilty as charged. Peter Hotez, in his new book Preventing the Next Pandemic, claims there are some 500 websites spreading vaccine misinformation. Most of them are outposts of the anti-vaxer movement battling vaccines of any stripe, be they to prevent measles, polio, or COVID.

There’s also a shelf full of books spreading pandemic and vaccine lies. One, COVID Operation (get it?), purports to tell “the story of how the COVID-19 Hoax began, who the major players are, and how the plan was executed. It’s a disturbing account of how easy it is to take control of people who assume that they will continue to enjoy freedom without holding government, the media, and many others accountable.”

Of course, the enemies of the state who have pulled off this masterful, worldwide hoax are public servants like our governor, health professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci, and heads of global non-profits. (I’m looking at you, George Soros!) The book’s authors promise it “will motivate masses of people to reject what is often referred to as ‘the new normal,’” “take back their lives,” and ensure that their children will live free.

Advertisement

The profit motive is obviously behind some of this pandemic disinformation, as horrendous as that sounds. Yes, people are making a buck off lying to folks who then catch COVID and die. Sweet! Intertwined with this is the libertarian movement. Libertarians are always distrustful of government and insistent on doing things their way, regardless of whom they might infect by disdaining masks and vaccines. For them, it’s not “live free or die” but “live free and die, and I may take you and yours along with me.”

Another facet of the Internet that’s complicit is social media. People can put almost any kind of fabricated nonsense on these platforms and trust it will be shared many times over. Most never take the time to fact check and just shovel the steaming content along. Since February, Facebook has had to ban misinformation about all vaccines and suspended organizations like Stop Mandatory Vaccination and the deceptively named National Vaccine Information Center. According to The New Yorker’s Jerome Groopman, “anti-vaccine accounts on social media continue to flourish, having gained more than ten million new followers since 2019.”

Folks are gullible. The bigger the lie, the more likely they are to fall for it. Just watch Fox News or listen to right wing radio. Their scatterbrain hosts have gone from “COVID is overblown” to election fraud to “Biden is cognitively impaired” to “the COVID vaccine is unproven” to cancel culture to open borders in just six months.

Sidney Powell, former lawyer for our former president, summed up this gullibility when she recently tried to explain away her falsehoods about a rigged election which she had averred was “the greatest crime of the century if not the life of the world.” When sued by a voting machine vendor, she responded in federal court, “Reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact.”

The sad thing is they do, Sidney, because people like you have destroyed objective truth, whether your lies are delivered next to the presidential podium or sprayed on the side of a Westminster building. Shame on all of you!

Frank Batavick writes from Westminster. His column appears every other Friday. Email him at fjbatavick@gmail.com.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement